We received news today that a young bearded vulture was seen in the Netherlands. The news spread rapidly and more than 20 people observed the avian visitor.
Flying great distances and exploring new areas is normal for young bearded vultures. To fly all the way to the north is not that common, but it happens every now and then. So far, all observations from the Netherlands, northern Germany etc were from birds in their first spring after fledgling.
It is surprising to see that the bird currently visiting the Netherlands fledged most likely in 2013. Apparently it is a wild-fledged bird as there are no visible feather markings. All released birds (in the reintroduction projects managed by the VCF) get some of their wing-feathers bleached, which allows us to identify them in flight. These marks should still be visible in a two year old bird.
The normal home of bearded vultures are the mountainous regions of Europe, Asia and Africa. There they find the perfect conditions for flying, steep walls for breeding & open landscape to search for bones to feed on. Therefore the Netherlands does not offer the perfect habitat for a bearded vulture.
Lets hope the young bird finds the way back to the mountains!